Click comics for full size versions at InkyGirl
I just saw Betsy Lerner's post on David Foster Wallace's papers, which includes the handwritten notes in his books. She seems moved, but I'm bordering on apoplectic.
It wasn't until I was in college that I learned to write in books. I finally started because I was a French major, and my grasp of the language was never fully fluent, which meant that I couldn't memorize the layout of my favorite books the way I can in English: even now, I can think of a favorite passage in most any of my books and find it in short order by remembering if it was high or low, left or right on the page, and how the book felt in my hands to determine how deep into the book I need to go to find it again. (This is also why I'm not going to an eReader any time soon.)
My brain doesn't work nearly as well in foreign languages, so I resorted to making some small notes in my favorite novels to help me along. Always in pencil, always slowly and carefully so that my notes and underlining were aesthetically pleasing alongside the typeface.
From his notes, I can tell that DFW loved the analysis of writing, but I also can't shake the feeling that he must not have respected these books very much. If he did, I don't understand how he could treat them that way. I don't even break the spine if I can avoid it; I read most thick books with my fingers placed strategically to protect the binding.
Someone blogged about dog-earing yesterday, and I responded in the comments, but now I can't remember who it was... sorry! But I'm going to ask similar questions: DO YOU DOG-EAR? DO YOU TAKE NOTES IN THE MARGINS? Why, or why not?